Visit NFL from the sidelines on the new Observer-Reporter site:

Friday, February 08, 2013

More changes on Tomlin's staff

The changes continue to come on Mike Tomlin's staff as wide receivers coach Scottie Montgomery has left to become and assistant coach at Duke.

Montgomery had come to the Steelers three years ago after serving as the receivers coach at Duke. He replaced Randy Fichtner, who moved from receivers coach to quarterbacks coach. Fichtner remains on the staff.

Montgomery's move marks the third departure from Tomlin's staff this offseason.

Previously, offensive line coach Sean Kugler left to become head coach at UTEP, while special teams coordinator Amos Jones left to take the same position with Arizona.

And no, Hines Ward will not be taking this job anytime soon.

It is not yet apparent what position Montgomery will serve with the Blue Devils. According to the school, offensive coordinator Kurt Roper remains with the team, though the positions of associate head coach, recruiting coordinator, wide receivers coach, passing game coordinator and special teams coordinator are open.


Anonymous said...

OT: McShay just released his Mock Draft yesterday.

He has the Steelers taking OSU DT Jonathan Hankins.
. I think he nailed it on the head and I couldn't agree more.

I think it's pretty obvious that NT is the biggest need on this club. You agree?

Dale Lolley said...

I don't. I think Hampton could be brought back at a minimum deal to back up McLendon. And I just don't see them taking another defensive lineman in the first round.

Anonymous said...

As long as Lake stays, we're good. Tomlin, LeBeau, & Haley aren't going anywhere. Are the coaches going first then the players?

marc said...

it's hard to knock a defense that has done such a good job limiting opponents in points. however, they do need to really improve on rushing the passer and generating turnovers. that all starts with the d-line demanding double teams to free up the blitzers. right now, i'm not sure any of the current guys demands a double team. if there were any one area that needs improvement, NT would be it.

with that said, i think colbert will stay true to form and go with BPA in the first round unless they feel they can trade up for someone they think is really special.

Anonymous said...

I could see kuglers new job as a step up. But with so many departures.
it seems some of the steelers staff is feeling pressure from above.
steeler junky

Steve-O said...

Dale, it appears that these coaching departures are coming about because of good opportunities elsewhere but it begs the question: are the rats fleeing the sinking ship? For the record I don't think it's the case but I'm curious about your take.

Dale Lolley said...

Let's wait and see what job Montgomery gets. If he's named associate head coach at his alma mater, it's tough to turn that down.

Anonymous said...

The coach of an under-performing crew was let go, I'd call that less of a 'rats fleeing' and more of a 'house cleaning'.

As for the draft, I'd put pass rusher, safety, wide receiver, corner back (if Lewis is not resigned) and running back ahead of a 2-down defensive lineman. So I really hope they don't go that route in the first.

Dale Lolley said...

I agree. They need someone who is going to score on a regular basis or someone who is going to get them the ball back to allow them to score on a regular basis. This draft is about playmakers. They've spent their premium picks in the past three drafts on fortifying the trenches.

Anonymous said...

Dale, how do you evaluate these top tier DL draft picks the last few years. I view Ziggy Hood as a disappointment and it's too soon for Heyward -- thoughts?

Steve-O said...

I've been watching YouTube highlight reels which I admit is far from scientific but I have to say that I am enamored with WR Cordarelle Patterson out of Tennessee. The draftniks project him going to Miami unless they sign a free agent (Mike Wallace). If he's available I wonder if the Steelers would entertain picking him or maybe Keena Allen (Cal) at 17. Both are playmakers but I think Patterson has a HUGE upside.

Dale Lolley said...

I have questions about Patterson. One year of major college play.

I like some of the other receivers better, though not at 17.

As for the defensive linemen, I don't have an issue with Ziggy Hood's play. Is he a star? No. But name me a player who's been a star as a defensive lineman for the Steelers.

Heyward needs to be more consistent.

Anonymous said...

Rather they go after Justin Hunter a round, or two, later over Patterson.

They absofreakinglutely need to go after a pass rusher with the 17. If Dion Jordan's shoulder checks out, that's my target.

Anonymous said...

There is way too many pass rushers available in this draft to pass on grabbing one in the first. Dion Jordan/Ezekiel Ansah/Barkevious Mingo one of these guys should be available at 17 and they should be the selection.

Dale Lolley said...

I don't like Mingo at all. Where's the production?

marc said...

casey hampton and aaron smith were both stars, just for the record.

go after the playmakers all you want, if you lose the battle at the line the playmakers will be making tackles 5 yards downfield.

Dan said...

"But name me a player who's been a star as a defensive lineman for the Steelers."

Maybe no "stars" of the Mario Williams / DeMarcus Ware variety, but Hampton and Aaron Smith were widely recognized for being among the best, if not the best, at their respective positions. Keisel is probably the most famous of the Steelers DL of the past decade or two, but mostly because he's more of a self-promoter than guys like Hampton or Smith.

If Aaron Smith had tried to create a more public persona, then he might be mentioned as a HOF candidate. Can anyone name a better 3-4 DE?

Pistol said...

I will keep my fingers crossed that they will be able to trade down and grab some extra premimum picks. In this draft there is ALOT of good talent and very little great talent so hopefully a team needs to move up.

Im hoping for
1.Eric Reid S- LSU
2.Chase Thomas- OLB Stanford
3.Ryan Swope/Markus Wheaton
4.Landry Jones- QB Oklahoma
5.Mike Gillislee- RB Florida

Ron said...

This isn't directed at Dale, but some of the other posters who think the Steelers will not be drafting wide outs early and often. The Steelers currently have 2 wide receivers under contract and will probably sign Sanders for 1 yr, bringing the total to 3 (Cotch, Brown, and Sanders). They may sign Burress or someone else for another year, but they will most likely be drafting 2 receivers this year; 1 of them will be a replacement for Wallace as his replacement is not on the current roster and they will not be active in free agency. They will also likely draft another wide receiver who is more of a possession type who is reliable.

The Steelers also need major help at running back as they face the same problem as wide out, but they have even less talent/players under contract at the position. They do not have the cap space to sign free agents, so these players will likely come from the draft. I wouldn't be surprised to see them draft 2 running backs also.

Also, keep in mind that the Steelers will also need a kick/punt returner and that will likely come from the wide receivers and rbs drafted.

bruinmann77 said...

I am very curious to see what the steelers will do come draft day. I have this feeling that they could draft 2 WR in the Draft. I understand that the Steelers could draft a Guard like Cooper or Womack to bulid a solid line.I like a RB in round 3-4 no need to draft a back early.I just dont see DL especially at Nt in round 1.
The perfrct storm would be some team trade up with us and allow us to get extra 3 round picks

Joe Jones said...

A. Dion Jordan DE/OLB

B. Keenan Allen WR

C. Manti T'eo ILB

D. Jonathan Hankins NT

E. Barkevious Mingo OLB

Pistol said...

My bad guys i was giving my draft with a supposed trade down and getting an extra third to get both WR's. Wheaton would give us the burner and Swope is tough as nails and does the little things.
I feel like the tandem of McClendon/Taamu can get the job done in todays NFL.

Lance said...

The need at WR/RB and a pass rushing LB are pretty even in my mind. I see us taking the BPA at an impact position in rds 1-4. We do not have glaring needs in the trenches, the DL and OL are good despite what so many fans continue to complain about, Hampton will be back at a minumum deal to back up and develop Taamu, while McLendon will start, we have 3 solid DE's and a young athletic OLine. We will be going aftyer playmakers, it is that simple, Lewis and Ike will stay and we have nice depth there Safety is another need, unless we move a player...which is possible- I see it like this:

1. LB-WR
2. LB-WR
3. RB-S
4. RB-S

All-BPA at a position of need.

marc said...

i agree we need better RB/WR, but i am more concerned regarding the d-line in the long term. mclendon is average, hampton declining, taamu an idiot, kiesel declining and heyward inconsistent. any reason to expect this line to improve?

impact RB's can be had at almost any point in the draft. same with WR. wallace was a 3rd rounder, brown a 6th rounder. there's no need to go with RB/WR in 1st or 2nd round.

Lance said...

Keisel was a 7th rd (242) in 2002 pick and was a back up until 2006 after Kimo left, our DE's will be fine, The OLB play between Woodley and Harrison is where the drop off was, our D-line are not supposed to be playmakers, I do not get why everyone thinks this is all on the dline. Keisel was a 7th rd pick and Smith was a 4th round pick. Stats for 2nd year as a starter.


A Smith-23-5-8

We need rushing OLB's IMO

marc said...

the difference between smith and the other two is that smith demanded double teams. that free's up the LB's to make plays and pressure the QB. and don't lose sight of the 8 sacks smith had in your stats there. that's a 3-4 DE constantly pressuring the QB against double teams and it set the stage for the rest of the defense.

harrison can't get the leverage on the LT anymore (did you notice lebeua moving harrison around more last season to try and get him more direct lines to the QB?) and woodley wasn't explosive enough (last season) to handle the RT's. but if the DE or NT were demanding double teams it would help create mismatches for the LB's.

you have to give lebeau all the credit in the world. he has been able to keep the defense at a very high level without a pass rush anywhere near what it used to be.

i'm not saying they MUST take a NT in round 1, but if there is a difference maker available at that position, then i would rather they take him instead of a RB or WR.

Lance said...

I am not saying Hood is equal to Smith, not at all, but rather that Hood and especially Heyward are young, heck, Keisel did not start until 4 years after he was drafted, Smith is a different story, but keep in mind he had 2-3 sacks in a season on more than one occassion. I agree that we need people taking up more blockers, but blitzing Timmons up the middle can help loosen up the outside as well, we could not do that because both OLB and Foote were liabilities this year. I am always for BPA at a position of need, I just do not see the NT as a top 4 priority this year. Our LB corp is in need of more help than the dline IMO, one difference maker there would be better, I have faith the team will do the right thing in the draft. I see a pass rusher coming to us in the first round if I had to take one guessm at it, I am just not sold on the WR/RB quality in RD 1, there are LB's I can easily see being there for us with the value.

Patrick said...

MLB is a major need. Foote was awful. Hes a FA too, right?

I don't know if Spence was the answer even before the knee injury.

They need a thumper and Sylvester hasn't "answered the bell" or whatever Tomlinism that is.

Dale Lolley said...

As much as I like and respect Aaron Smith, there is no way he would be considered for a the hall of fame. Unfortunately, many of those guys are looking at sacks, Pro Bowls, All-Pro, etc.
To get to the Pro Bowl or make All-Pro, you need the sacks. Even if Aaron had promoted himself like Ali, he wouldn't have made the cut.

Dan said...

"As much as I like and respect Aaron Smith, there is no way he would be considered for a the hall of fame. Unfortunately, many of those guys are looking at sacks, Pro Bowls, All-Pro, etc.
To get to the Pro Bowl or make All-Pro, you need the sacks. Even if Aaron had promoted himself like Ali, he wouldn't have made the cut."

I agree with all of this. My point, however, was that Aaron Smith was among the best, if not the best, 3-4 DE of all time. It wasn't Aaron's primary job to get sacks, it was his job to occupy blockers so that the linebackers could get sacks and make tackles.

A 3-4 DE getting in to the hall is like an Offensive Guard getting into the hall. Their dominance is difficult to quantify. If Aaron were a more colorful guy, more of a self-promoter, maybe he could have brought attention to the unique nature of the 3-4 DE position and make more people realize that it's not all about stats.

Despite this, Peter King ( a Hall of Fame voter) recognized Aaron Smith's greatness, and he even put him on his all-decade team. Maybe some more writers / voters could have been influenced to vote for Aaron if he was a more prominent media figure.

marc said...

aaron smith will get in a long time from now from the seniors committee. they typically nominate to the full committee players who may have been passed over because their stats didn't tell the whole story. aaron smith could not be a more perfect example.

regarding the draft, the steelers have consistently put themselves in a flexible position leading up to the draft the past several years thru retaining their own FA's and bringing in the "lesser known" type guys. this year will be no different, though it will require letting go of some long-time veterans, imo.

and, i too like the the idea of getting stanford's TE and moving back up in the 2nd round, if that's possible.